Overview of the Super Powered Universe.
Welcome to a collection of fiction set in the world of Drew Hayes’ Super Powereds. Everything following this was originally, and continues to be, hosted on Drew’s site. As such there is a lot of ‘assumed knowledge’ in this work that people wandering into my own site may not have, hence this introduction. Here is a very basic premise of a few things about this PARTICULAR world of people with superhuman abilities that should help you get immersed without wondering; “What in tarnation does that mean?”
To start with, people with superhuman abilities have probably been appearing in this setting throughout all of history, but “Variant Humans” have only been officially in the public eye since right around the end of World War 2 (and that must have been a MUCH more interesting war with secret super powers involved) when the ‘official’ first Super calling himself Captain Starlight made a public address to the government as he had served his country (the US) during the war and wanted some way to continue doing so now that his military service had ended. This story is set a little bit later than this revelation though, so “Variant Humans” are pretty much an accepted facet of society in the ‘present.’
“Variant Humans,” the official government term (as they of course have the Department of Variant-Human Affairs, because why ruin the suspension of disbelief by pretending the government won’t create as many layers of bureaucracy as possible!), are broken down into two broad categories, colloquially referred to as Supers and Powereds. Supers are people with beyond human abilities that have control over said abilities. Powereds have similar abilities, but absolutely no control. This isn’t to say that a Super knows how to completely control every aspect of their ability from day one, and some powers are essentially reflexive, but a Powered has ZERO real control over their ability. Some Powereds have a trigger, something like an emotional or physical state that sets their power off, while others are stuck with an ‘always on’ ability, or the worst case for most: completely and unpredictably random.
Powereds in general are looked down upon by society (and openly discriminated against in many ways) as the whole of them carry the stigma of being associated with the few genuinely dangerous Powereds out there that have no control over their abilities (imagine the kind of damage the most powerful comicbook superpowers could do if they were completely unpredictable and even un-aimable). Supers face a much more subtle discrimination in a few areas (mostly the jealousy issues like “Why does SHE get powers and not ME?”) but also have a massive leg up on the rest of humanity if they’re lucky enough to get a useful power (Super abilities range from a man who can transmute effectively anything he comes into contact with into another material of the same VOLUME at will, all the way down to a girl that can make bubbles. Like soap bubbles, but not really soap either) as there are Super Sports Leagues, Super Fighting Leagues, courier services that use Speedsters and Teleporters, and of course the primary focus of these works of fiction; Heroes.
Heroes (it’s capitalized for emphasis!) in this setting aren’t just random people who decided one day to wear a mask and go out and do good deeds with their powers. In an alarming bout of realism this world points out the LUDICROUS amounts of collateral damage that are done when, say for example, two men capable of using TANKS as melee weapons, if they so desire, decide to have a brawl in a crowded mall. Many laws have been passed and are HEAVILY enforced. Heroes are essentially an ultra elite branch of Federal Law Enforcement and Disaster Relief rolled into one. If you want to be an official Hero, shielded from being sued into oblivion for collateral damage resulting from your involvement with superpowered criminals or just the damage you might do trying to rescue someone from a more mundane threat (not to mention probably going to prison or some other wonderful criminal court punishment), then you apply to enter the Hero Certification Program and go through four years of intense training with a VERY narrow graduation window. Currently there are five such programs in the US (other countries are assumed to have their own variations that aren’t gotten into in THIS particular story) based in college campuses around the country. College campuses because applicants are expected to attend normal classes WHILE also going through a grueling training gauntlet, with a special Secret Identity requirement while doing so. The HCP gives you a chance with a very sophisticated ‘scrubbing’ of your identity so that nothing will directly link you to previous uses of your powers that might, for example, be floating around on youtube. But students cannot be caught publicly using their abilities around the towns/campuses where they are enrolled in the HCP or they wash out of the program (but are free to try again in the future! Probably at another campus though)
So this is a basic primer for the world of Super Powereds in which this story is set. If you haven’t read it, I really recommend doing so! (there’s a link down underneath the various book links. See it? And I hope you enjoy this story as well!